Alina Stefanescu




We make love, detangle limbs, lift

faces towards dogma. Somewhere

in the cosmos, terrors prepare their 

apocalypse, sacred space beyond human 

time. The epiphenomenal hit is a huff 

for death, a fast end to carpools, taxes, 

petunias. Men of all colors want in.


You say wanting an end 

is not the same

as seeking a future.


But I can see both sides of the coin 

boys keep flipping near the fountain.




You teach me

how things start and go one forever,  

which is another word for love but

not yet. For now, it's Francis Schaeffer 

launching Culture Wars from a Swiss 

mountain commune, crafting modern 

reactions to fetus breath. The worship 

of not-yet-life hides a taste for hymens. 

Why blow bubbles into the bones of 

traditional marriage?


You explain

Schaeffer's doctrine of co-belligerency 

that binds Catholics and Protestants 

against the world. Under the altar of 

ecumenicism, we hold out for purity 

pins and dances with daddies.


You ask

if I understand

why flesh is messy. The not-yets

wrap like knees round my waist. 

I imagine you as an octopus

& cover my mouth.




Your favorite Greek god is Hermes, deity of cunning 

who discovered how to make fire by twirling a stick.


Dearest fellow, minor prophet of beer-bong logorrhea, 

I have waited for you to start a fire so brutal

it feels like forever.




Females fold into lycra blends and fetal 

positions. Christian fundamentalists grow

to take the fun part literally, meaning arrow 

follows arrow to the heart. Meaning Disneyland 

leads to magic ark leads to lottery-funded state



You mistrust any words committed to paper. 

A text means nothing outside a small group 

because humans will write anything.


I covet the closeness your lips sustain

with a wooden toothpick. You flip it forward 

and back like a head dangling off a bed, meaning 

intimate oral object leads to harlot leads to idol. 

There is so little truth we try to be candid.


You say sincerity is a stumbling block 

en route to honest communication.


But I know the opposite of heresy is belief.



Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at or @aliner.